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I want to learn quantum physics but

  1. Jun 21, 2008 #1
    Hi. Would you guys think it is essential to take a course or read a book based on classical physics as a starter leading on to quantum physics? I got a pretty deep book on QP but the maths has got me lost because it takes a lot of stuff from classical physics and not having been in a maths classroom for 10 years I find myself totally lost and a little discouraged.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2008 #2
    It depends on how well you want to learn it. A book on quantum mechanics for the layman fill feed you the physics that you may not know. If you want more precise understanding, i.e. with the math, then I'd recommend learnining physics the hard way. We're here for you if you do.

  4. Jun 21, 2008 #3
    Thanks for the reply. I got the book to see if QP was an area of study I would enjoy. So far I am very intrigued and would love to learn more. The thing that is on my mind at the moment is starting and Open University course. I would imagine it would start off fairly light and build up to the more intense stuff.
  5. Jun 21, 2008 #4
    Do you have iTunes by chance? I am sure there is a way around it if you don't, but try this

    http://itunes.stanford.edu/ Click on the "open Stanford on iTunes" button and on the first page is a series of video lectures called "Modern Theoretical Physics Minimum."

    I have not watched it (nor would I be able to critique it if I did b/c I am just not qualified) but it seems to be what you might be looking for.
  6. Jun 21, 2008 #5
    I am learning quantum mechanics from Dirac's Principles of QM but I am a math student. From what I studied so far (about the first 4 chapters on the book), QM is intensive on linear algebra and linear operators. I think it is essential that you learn at least linear algebra up and including Hilbert Spaces.
  7. Jun 21, 2008 #6
    dont worry too much about it. just know the stuff in your math pre req classes and the QM teacher will teach what u need to know. U dont need to do anythign extra. Just do a quick review of what u alrdy learned and you'll be fine. Don't stress out on that.
  8. Jun 21, 2008 #7


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    But you cannot read Dirac's book without knowing advanced mechanics..
  9. Jun 21, 2008 #8
    If you want to truly understand QM at say, a graduate level (which I started with, after learning basic Newtonian mechanics and basic Lagrangian mechanics), then you could try to use Fitzpatrick's "Quantum Mechanics: A Graduate Course." Lots of it leaves exercises up to the reader (where it says stuff like 'it is obvious that...'), but it forces people to think, which really helps people understand the concepts. Now it IS a graduate level textbook, but it isn't that bad to move through at a decent rate (it's the summer now, and I've gone through about half of it, 80 pages, in three weeks or so). However, it really helps to understand linear algebra (what's a vector space? what are eigenvalues, etc.?). I disagree with JasonJo where you have to know linear algebra including Hilbert Spaces... it most definitely helps, but Fitzpatrick's book teaches you the Hilbert Space knowledge... it's more of something you just notice rather than pursue... (it helps to put it into perspective... a state ket is a vector which represents a quantum state... so Fitzpatrick just says okay * insert info about state kets here * oh and it's part of a Hilbert space * more stuff here *, etc.). In short, he just *mentions* that state kets are part of a Hilbert space. There's nothing really more.

    Now, with the classical mechanics, there is a chapter relating to Hamiltonian mechanics, but it's not absolutely NECESSARY to read through Hamiltonian mechanics... just know the basics (the equations associated with it, and that's about it). Now, Newtonian mechanics is very important to know, because QM is a generalization of Newtonian + Lagrangian + Hamiltonian mechanics... so if you're not familiar with quantities like momentum, energy, and angular momentum, you may be in for a ride. Best of luck!
  10. Jun 22, 2008 #9
    Thanks for that. Downloading the first vid on quantum mechanics. Great find!
  11. Jun 22, 2008 #10

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    What book are you using?
  12. Jun 22, 2008 #11
    Quantum Mechanics: Concepts and Applications - Nouredine Zettili
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